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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy!
Just got RailModellerPro and learning to use it. So far it seems really nice, although I have only scratched the surface of its capabilities! I can see how useful it is already!

Anyway.... my layout will be in the art room. I teach art at a high school. It used to be the shop room, but now its art, and it is big! Attached is a schematic of the room. I will put pics of my layout ideas when I get them done, and hopefully I can get some further ideas-and warnings-from y'all.

I was originally planning to use O Gauge trains, but have been leaning towards HO. This is because HO is my favorite, and because there just seems to be a lot more stuff for HO. Also because I have to keep my tracks and stuff on the sides, and HO lets me do a lot more in a smaller space. I may still run an O gauge over the top of the room though. All the locomotives will likely be Steam Engines, as that's what I find the most interesting.

The trains will travel through various places including: mushroom forest, volcanic area, a winter area, zombie town, water falls, Native American area, small towns, etc. The trains will also go up and down elevations, so I will likely have one helix and some type of switchback.
The train will also cross overhead in at least one place, which will be a long outcropping of "stone" bridged by a trestle of some kind. Maybe also a "stone" arch.
I have to learn about switching and maintaining a current on such a huge set of tracks, as well as many other things, but God willing I will be able to start soon!
Rectangle Slope Font Parallel Circle
the room
 

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Sounds like an ambitious layout that you have in mind. It's good that you seem to
have plenty of room for it. I agree that you should go with HO. It's a workable scale,
has a vast choice of trains, accessories, scenic effects, track and accessories. Since you have indicated a preference for steam, I would suggest that you have only 22" or qiswe radius curves.
By all means, plan on using Flex track, and quality turnouts. It will make
your plans easier to install and your operations smoother.

You definitely should plan on using the DCC control system for such a large
track plan. It will make your wiring and operation much easier.

With DCC you have 2 wires, as a bus, that powers your whole layout. There is
no complex toggle panels, multiple power sources and complex wiring. Once
you have the beginnings of a track plan, post it and ask for opinions and
suggestions. One important factor we would need to know, will there be more
than one person operating separate trains at the same time? For example,
person A is controlling a train through the mountains as person B is switching
cars building a freight train in a train yard.

We look forward to working with you.

Don
 

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Build it in smaller modules, say 2'x8', and get each one up and running, possibly even with scenery, before going on to the next. An elephant like you envision is impossible to eat in one bite. Trying to do it will most likely result in burnout and /or frustration.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yeah pretty big, but it mainly stays on the edges of the room, with a few crossing overs, maybe. Hopefully I won't be in a corner crying before its done!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Trying to quote but the quote button just says "Message added to multi-quote". And then can't figure out what to do to make the quotes show up!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Sounds like an ambitious layout that you have in mind. It's good that you seem to
have plenty of room for it. I agree that you should go with HO. It's a workable scale,
has a vast choice of trains, accessories, scenic effects, track and accessories. Since you have indicated a preference for steam, I would suggest that you have only 22" or qiswe radius curves.
By all means, plan on using Flex track, and quality turnouts. It will make
your plans easier to install and your operations smoother.

You definitely should plan on using the DCC control system for such a large
track plan. It will make your wiring and operation much easier.

With DCC you have 2 wires, as a bus, that powers your whole layout. There is
no complex toggle panels, multiple power sources and complex wiring. Once
you have the beginnings of a track plan, post it and ask for opinions and
suggestions. One important factor we would need to know, will there be more
than one person operating separate trains at the same time? For example,
person A is controlling a train through the mountains as person B is switching
cars building a freight train in a train yard.

We look forward to working with you.

Don
AHHH! GOT IT!!!
I'm QUOTING!!! I'M QUOTIIIIIING!!!!!!!

Anyway....
Yeah DCC seems like the way to go from the little I understand, and from your recommendation, I am certain.
I hadn't thought of more than me operating the system, but now that you mention it, it would be neat to have the ability for some students to work the different trains.

I really appreciate all the input!

Thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Build it in smaller modules, say 2'x8', and get each one up and running, possibly even with scenery, before going on to the next. An elephant like you envision is impossible to eat in one bite. Trying to do it will most likely result in burnout and /or frustration.
Makes sense. I am going to design the whole track on the software, then put it up here for advice on whether it is nuts, and/or how to go about dividing it up into sections.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So far looks like at least one helix and then a winding switchback path down the side of mountains or a canyon.
The options for radii in the software that I see are:

1. Full section 15" radius 30
2. Full section 18" radius 30
3. 22" radius 22.5

Seems like the 30 radius is best, no? Especially for a helix and switchbacks?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
This is what I did messing araound with the software. I need to kee the area of the entrance more open, so the layouts will be along the South and North walls mainly. I have a helix in the South wall area, and then a winding switchback over on the north.
I'm just trying it out to see how it works.
Please feel free to advise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
FWIW, if the students are handling the trains, O-gauge is a better choice as it's more robust than HO, especially with kids handling it.

I guess I'll be the one doing it then. The more I think on this the more HO seems the way to go. If it was just a train going around a simple track then O would be fine, but I'd really like to have all sorts of intricate stuff all over the place; little hidden places and things, and HO seem the best for that.
Thanks for pointing that out!
 

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Looks like essentially just a big loop. Wiring for DC would be no more difficult than DCC, in fact petty much exactly the same.

Sent from my SM-G781U using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Looks like essentially just a big loop. Wiring for DC would be no more difficult than DCC, in fact petty much exactly the same.

Sent from my SM-G781U using Tapatalk
So far.
I'm just getting used to the program. Once I put up the first draft of the track hopefully I'll get some feedback regarding adding additional track for more trains, etc.
 

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I fully agree with the sections advice, not so much the construction, although that's definitely a good idea, but for movability. You never know if life is going to tap you on shoulder and say, "I rolled the dice. You loose. Get out!" Personal experience, my layout was a total loss. Think about the ability for one person with a hand truck or two people can fairly easily move. Personally I'm going with 2.5ft X 6ft.

I'm looking forward to see what you come up with.
 

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I guess I thought you were intending to fill the room with the layout. But perhaps just a layout against a wall.

So here's some ideas if this a student/teach project.

- although o scale is more robust, ho is much cheaper

- also if you stick with dcc, you could as a project build the base station using the open source dcc++ project...

-. and then run the trains using the open source project jmri and a cheap computer...

- if it's a team build I guess you'd want to consider the start and end time so folks could see the fruit of their labor...
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I fully agree with the sections advice, not so much the construction, although that's definitely a good idea, but for movability. You never know if life is going to tap you on shoulder and say, "I rolled the dice. You loose. Get out!" Personal experience, my layout was a total loss. Think about the ability for one person with a hand truck or two people can fairly easily move. Personally I'm going with 2.5ft X 6ft.

I'm looking forward to see what you come up with.
I understand that point of view, but I have all my stuff there: all my model building, leather, art stuff, and even tools for vehicles. On the other side of that area, divided by some shelves, is a garage with another storage closet. I have my FJ Cruiser in there waiting to be repainted and the inside redone.
I do plan on making it somewhat removable in sections though, even if I have to sawzall some pices I will still be able to save about 90% of the track.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
I guess I thought you were intending to fill the room with the layout. But perhaps just a layout against a wall.

So here's some ideas if this a student/teach project.

- although o scale is more robust, ho is much cheaper

- also if you stick with dcc, you could as a project build the base station using the open source dcc++ project...

-. and then run the trains using the open source project jmri and a cheap computer...

- if it's a team build I guess you'd want to consider the start and end time so folks could see the fruit of their labor...
I WISH I could have that room only for a layout!!!
I've pretty much decided to go with HO.
This won't really be having students involved except for maybe helping paint some scenery. I will have links and some materials ready for those that ask, and I can always let a students run a train under my supervision.
 
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